The Hellanback Ranch vineyards were planted in 2006 and 2007 with Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Our climate is generally hot and dry during the growing season, with mild to cool evenings. The soil is made up of decomposing granite (DG) and red clay. Irrigation comes from one of the two deep wells on the ranch.

To help ensure intense flavors in the wine, we keep the amount of fruit at an optimum level and avoid over cropping. We use a double cordon and an 8 x 10 trellis system to allow plenty of space for root health. We use side netting to keep birds out of the vines after the grapes start to ripen. The nets are permanently installed and rolled under the cordon when not in use.

Busy times in the vineyards include pruning in late March, when we also check the irrigation lines for leaks. Training the new canes through the trellis wires goes on most of the summer and the bird netting goes up in July.

Working in the vineyards here at Hellanback Ranch is almost therapeutic due to the beautiful backdrop of Mount Gower, Starlight Mountain, and the riparian forest that runs the length of the ranch. One can hear sounds from nature that likely would never be heard in the city. A coastal breeze starts up around 9:00 each day during the summer months, keeping the vine ventilated.

But harvest is the best time in the vineyard. Thatís when we call on family, friends and neighbors to help bring in the grape harvest to the winery. And afterwards there is the traditional post harvest feast with lots of wine and good food. If youíre in the neighborhood and would like to help with the harvest, just email or give us a call.